Republican Sen. John Kennedy (La.) tore into the Biden administration Wednesday over its alleged plan to distribute crack pipes to drug addicts to advance racial equity, calling the news pure "stupidity."
What's the background?
Last week, the Washington Free Beacon reported that President Joe Biden's Department of Health and Human Services had hatched a plan to use taxpayer money earmarked for COVID-19 relief to distribute "safe smoking kits/supplies" to underserved communities as part of a "harm reduction" grant program.
According to the Free Beacon, an HHS spokesperson had confirmed that the kits would provide drug addicts safer pipes to use when they smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, or "any illicit substance."
The news set off a firestorm of anger and controversy and resulted in the White House disputing the reporting and claiming that pipes would not be included in the kits. Fact-checkers rushed to the administration's defense, also arguing that pipes weren't necessarily going to be included and that the money would also be spent on other things.
But critics argued smoking kits used elsewhere have almost always included pipes. It seemed the administration was merely caught in the act and backtracked.
Either way, the rub is essentially the same. HHS planned to provide drug users smoking "kits" with certain materials inside for the stated purpose of reducing the risk of harm for illicit drug users rather than preventing the use of illicit drugs.
What did Kennedy say?
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday night, Sen. Kennedy remarked on the lunacy of the plan, arguing that the government should be helping people get off of drugs or securing the border where the drugs flow from instead.
"Once again, intelligence is chasing the Biden administration, but the Biden administration is managing to beat it," Kennedy proclaimed.
"This entire controversy, in my judgment, Sean, is why millions of Americans tonight are thinking, you know, Republicans aren’t perfect, and God knows we’re not, but the other side is crazy," he said. "Now think about this — President Biden has decided to take $30 million of taxpayer money from his emergency COVID bill that he passed with Democratic support last March, and he wants to use it to facilitate the smoking of crack cocaine and meth in the name of racial justice, racial equity. His people say they can make the smoking of crack cocaine and meth safer."
Biden's plan to fund crack pipe distribution is 'stupidity': Sen. Kennedy www.youtube.com
Kennedy wasn't finished there.
"First, why are they using COVID money? Number two, why are they using any money at all? There’s no safe way to smoke crack or meth. Sooner or later, it kills you, and that’s just a fact," he continued. "Why do we want to facilitate it? Why, Americans are asking themselves, wouldn’t we take this money and use it to help people get off the illicit drugs? Why wouldn’t we take this money, the American people are asking themselves, and use it to stop the drugs from coming into our country in the first place by securing the border? And what does any of this have to do with racial justice?"
"Crack cocaine and meth, whether you smoke it or inject it, will kill you. It doesn’t matter what color you are or what your gender is," he added. "Now, look — stupidity is a lot like pornography. It’s very hard to define, but you know it when you see it. This is stupidity."
On Thursday, Kennedy joined his Republican colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), in sponsoring a bill called the Cutting Rampant Access to Crack Kits (CRACK) Act of 2022 that aims to block the federal government from using the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to fund the distribution of crack pipes.
"I am glad the Biden Administration acknowledges sending crack pipes to our nation’s addicts is a bad idea,” Rubio said in a press release. "It is pure insanity to think the federal government would fund crack pipe distribution. This legislation will make certain the program can never pay for crack pipes, and given the Biden Administration’s position I look forward to their vigorous support."